Nearly 16,000 highly trained, well-equipped war fighters are sitting on the sidelines in the battle for the Gulf Coast — and the fault lies not with the federal government but with the governors of the affected states.
Bobby Jindal, Haley Barbour, Bob Riley and Charlie Crist are respectively the commanders in chief for the National Guard in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. It is their responsibility to direct the troops at their disposal. And quite an army it is: As of May 3rd, the Pentagon has authorized 17,500 guardsmen to respond to the BP spill — free of charge to the states. The federal government will front the costs, which will ultimately be passed on to the oil giant.